THE INSPIRATION YOU CAN’T QUITE GRAB
When the muse hits me, I go with it and don’t stop until the story is done. It’s always been that way for me. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t come up with plenty of half-baked ideas along the way. How many ideas have you had that you just can’t grasp? It’s those ideas that are a spark that won’t quite turn into a flame?
We just got back from Disneyland the other day. Early Saturday afternoon we hit the Haunted Mansion and as we floated along the canal in the little boats the eerie décor flashed me back to all the scary spooky ghost stories from when I was a kid. Okay, so they were the Bobsey Twins, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew kind of spooky, way before Scooby Doo was a gleam in whoever-created-his-character’s eye. I flashed back to The Tower Treasure, The Secret of the Old Mill, The House On The Cliff… vintage Hardy Boys mainly because I could remember the titles. I had a sudden inspiration for a ghost story. Been there done that? Oversaturated genre? Ahem. Need I mention the V word? I rest my case.
With that in mind I moved on to my nugget of inspiration, a thrill building in my gut as we passed more creepy décor mixed in with the cartoonish goofy faces, the even goofier voices, and of course, Baby (my grandson) sitting next to me gobbling it all up. Yet, my mind continued to work on something creepy and more adult. Could I come up with a scary ghost tale that would be fun, funny, scary yet adult enough to work? I would want it to be dark enough to make it into the horror genre yet have enough humor to be my trademark without being too Three Stooges. With all that to think about, the muse faded, we hit the holograms in the dining room and the muse was lost. By the time we hit the sunlight, my nugget of inspiration was but a dull memory.
How often does that happen to you?
Hold on folks. I haven’t given up on it. It may have gone on the back burner, it may have twisted and turned and gone through changes, but my inspiration is still in the back of my head brewing.
Some people write notes and keep a journal. Others carry along a recorder and log all their ideas for later use (I’ve mentioned this before). I do neither. I remember reading somewhere that Clive Cussler has note cards and when he gets these nuggets of inspiration, he writes then down on these cards and keeps them in file boxes. He looks them up, maybe randomly when he’s working on a new story.
Going back to the title of this article, I used to have the same problem with music. Being a failed musician, I used to come up with dynamite riffs and sometimes whole songs driving to and from work but had no way to record them or even remember them. By the time I got home, they were long forgotten. When I did remember them, by the time I was able to pick up a guitar and try to duplicate it, I’d completely forget everything in the process of either tuning up or trying to find the chords!
At least I don’t have that problem with writing. Most of my ideas hit me and stick solid. Once in a while I get one like in the Haunted Mansion. It seemed like a great one at the time but so far this one’s getting lost in the translation.
How about you?
What will probably happen is that the answer to my predicament will hit me out of the blue and I’ll know exactly what to do. All I need is that beginning and the end then I’m In Like Flint. If you don’t know what it means, look it up on IMDB, Google or Wikipedia. I’m sure you know what they are!